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Eyeing Eastern Conference

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 12/18/2011 12:06:34 PM

The Atlanta, Central and Southeast make up the Eastern Conference and let’s glance at the ever-changing landscape at this point in time.

The Boston Celtics sweep the New York Knicks out of the playoffs last year but then were them dusted by the Miami Heat.

The Celts dangled Rajon Rondo but he makes that engine go and they let go of Big Baby Davis to Orlando for Brandon Bass, a more traditional down-low consistent player.

The Big Three of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will win you a lot of games and they have the underrated bench. They still will be a tough out.

The Knicks made a huge move getting Tyson Chandler from Dallas and he will help the defense right away. Losing Chauncey Billups is a major negative and they now have to go out and get some help at the point. They were only .500 last year after the Carmelo Anthony trade but if Amar’e Stoudemire stays healthy, they will make some noise.

Last season it took the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers time to jell but they finished strong and were just outmatched in the first round of the playoffs. They are young, have a solid backcourt with plenty of upside and will improve if they continue to listen to Coach Doug Collins.
The New Jersey Nets will be playing their last season in Newark before the move to Brooklyn next season but they have to pick up some firepower to help Deron Williams. One of the best things that they have going for them is the owner will spend. They will be hard pressed to make the post season without changes.
Toronto has some cap room to maneuver but they will come up short most nights. The hardest thing for them is to entice runners to move to Canada. Another long, cold season predicted.
The Central starts and ends with the Chicago Bulls. Defending MVP Derrick Rose will only be improved; they have the motor in Yoakim Noah and will really improve if they can garner a solid shooting guard to take the pressure off Rose. Expect them to start the year hot and just get better.
Indiana will be better this year but it’s questionable if they have the talented needed to reach the elite. The team has made smart moves, like getting the very talented David West from New Orleans. They may go are far as Danny Granger will take them.
Expect the Milwaukee Bucks to have a big year. They picked up alpha dog in Stephen Jackson and figure to have a healthy Andrew Bogut. Brandon Jennings did nothing but ball in the off-season taking on all comers and he should come out hot as a pistol. They figure to be a good team to bet on this season.
The glory days of Detroit are long gone. Richard Hamilton was tossed and although Rodney Stuckey has ability, he’s not game saver. Face it; the Cleveland Cavaliers have an anemic roster. Sure, Anderson Varejao is a nice player, but he wouldn’t start for a ton of teams. The Cavs will once again flirt with the cellar.
Miami and the Heat are favored to win the whole thing and they should be chalk this season. Considering all the things that went wrong last year, the injuries, the negative LeBron stuff and the problem at the point, they still were just 2 games away from winning it all.
They have resigned some key pieces, signed the versatile Shane Battier, and with a healthy Udonis Haslem, should be a handful.
The Atlanta Hawks are destined for mediocrity with Joe Johnson nowhere close to a franchise player. They shot horribly last year and will have to address that factor. Charlotte is even in a worse place because they cannot score. New addition Corey Maggette will be counted on to provide a ton of scoring but that alone will not be enough.
John Wall makes the Washington Wizards exciting but that will not turn out to produce a lot of wins. They have a young and talented front line but are a few years away from competing with the best in the Conference.

Orlando lives and dies with Dwight Howard. They pretty much have to move the guy or run the risk of losing him and getting nothing but at this point, they seem to let things just play out and start the season with him at the center spot. The team was faced with a similar trade scenario in the Shaq era and got nothing.
Even with Howard at his very best, like he was last season, the Magic won’t be able to stay with the Heat.

Pencil it in now, the Miami Heat will play in June and try to win another championship.

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